Second-quarter net earnings increased 16.9% to $433.5 million, or $0.42 per share, as compared to $370.9 million, or $0.36 per diluted share in the same quarter last year. However, backing out gains from litigation settlements, the company's earnings were up 14.8% to $425.6 million, or $0.41 per share, a number that missed analysts' estimates by a penny.
Sales increased 15.8% to $9.78 billion, and same-store sales were up 11.5%. Prescription revenues, which made up 60% of Walgreen's sales, rose 19%, and same-store pharmacy sales boosted a healthy 15.5%. The company said it expanded its prescription market share by 5.9%.
Granted, the entire drugstore retail segment, enjoying the fruits of a bad season for colds, flus, and other ailments, reporting improved same-store sales.
For the long-term view, Walgreen cites the aging baby boomer population as one of the harbingers of coming growth. That concept alone makes the entire sector an interesting one to watch. Walgreen is at the head of the pack, but it has rivals like CVS
In addition, Walgreen continues to open new stores, with 450 planned openings this year, and it currently operates 1,250 stores in the 24-hour format.
While there was a lot to like about the second quarter, Walgreen shares are trading at 25 forward earnings. Despite the positive trends for the future, that seems a little rich. Walgreen shares were recently down 3.6% at $32.30.
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Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.